An Anatomy of Failure – Wind Power Development in China

PublikationArtikel (med peer review)
China, Jonas Grafström, Miljöekonomi, Wind power


China is currently the world’s largest installer of wind power. However, with twice the installed wind capacity compared to the United States in 2015, the Chinese produce less power. The question is: Why is this the case? This article shows that Chinese grid connectivity is low, Chinese firms have few international patents, and that export is low even though production capacity far exceeds domestic production needs. Using the tools of Austrian economics, China’s wind power development from 1980 to 2016 is documented and analyzed from three angles: (a) planning and knowledge problems, (b) unproductive entrepreneurship, and (c) bureaucracy and government policy. From a theoretical standpoint, both a planning problem and an entrepreneurial problem are evident where governmental policies create misallocation of resources and a hampering of technological development.

Grafström, J. (2021). An Anatomy of Failure – Wind Power Development in China. Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, 24(2), 317-347.

Liknande innehåll

Dags att städa upp – potential för koldioxidinfångning
Grafström, J.


Publicerat i



Den minskning av koldioxidutsläpp som behöver komma till stånd globalt dröjer och riskerar bli för långsam och för sen. Olika former av koldioxidinfångning kommer därför att vara nödvändiga. I Dags att städa upp – potential för koldioxidinfångning tar Jonas Grafström, miljöekonom, ett helhetsgrepp på infångningstekniken. Han sammanfattar såväl teknik som kringliggande aspekter gällande exempelvis ekonomi, infrastruktur och energi.

De tre metoder av koldioxidinfångning som huvudsakligen beskrivs är infångning från utsläppspunkter (CCS), bioenergi med infångning (BECCS) och atmosfärisk infångning (DAC). Dessa förenas alla av behovet av aktiv lagring av koldioxidgasen efter infångningen. Metoder som binder koldioxiden till marken berörs endast kort.

Koldioxidinfångning står inför tre huvudsakliga, generella utmaningar: Att ytterligare utveckla tekniken; att se till att kostnaderna för den blir rimliga; och att den blir del av ett kretslopp och en marknad.

Koldioxidinfångning inte är ett substitut för att drastiskt minska koldioxidutsläppen. Att fasa ut fossila bränslen, utöka förnybar energi och påskynda effektivitetsåtgärder, är nödvändigt. Infångning som begränsningsmetoder kommer ensamma inte räcka till för att förhindra uppvärmning. Det är inte ”antingen eller” utan ”både och”.

Ratio Working Paper No. 347: A review of problems associated with learning curves for solar and wind power technologies
Working paperPublikation
Grafström, J. & Poudineh, R.


Publicerat i

Ratio Working Paper


The learning curve concept, which relates historically observed reductions in the cost of a technology to the number of units produced or the capacity cumulatively installed, has been widely adopted to analyse the technological progress of renewable resources, such as solar PV and wind power, and to predict their future penetration. Learning curves were originally an empirical tool to evaluate learning-by-doing in manufacturing, and the jump to analysis of country-level technological change in renewable energy is an extension that requires careful consideration. This paper provides a review of the problems associated with learning curves for solar and wind power technologies. Issues such as whether the past cost reductions affect the future, learning curve specification problems, changing price ratios and econometric issues are discussed. Learning curves have a place in research, but there are several pitfalls that researchers should be careful not to overlook.

Government Support to Renewable Energy R&D: Drivers and Strategic Interactions among EU Member States
Artikel (in press)Publikation
Grafström, J., Söderholm, P., Gawel, E., Lehmann, P., & Strunz, S.



Although the climate challenge requires proactive policies that spur innovation in the renewable energy sector, various countries commit vastly different levels of support for renewable energy R&D. This paper addresses the question why this may be the case. Specifically, the objective is to analyse the determinants of government support to renewable energy R&D in the European Union (EU), and, in doing this, we devote particular attention to the question of whether the level of this support tends to converge or diverge across EU Member States. The investigation relies on a data set of 12 EU Member States and a bias-corrected dynamic panel data estimator. We test for the presence of conditional β-convergence, and the impacts of energy dependence and electricity regulation on government R&D efforts. The findings display divergence in terms of government support to renewable energy R&D, and this result is robust across various model specifications and key assumptions. The analysis also indicates that countries with a low energy-import dependence and deregulated electricity markets tend to experience lower growth rates in government renewable energy R&D. The paper ends by discussing some implications of the results, primarily from an EU perspective.

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